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Our predictions on how Zach Wilson and other BYU Cougars fare in the NFL draft

Wilson receiving most draft buzz since Marc Wilson, Jim McMahon

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Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (1), Brigham Young Cougars running back Lopini Katoa (4 )and Brigham Young Cougars offensive lineman Brady Christensen (67) hoist the trophy after the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. BYU won 49-23.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

This article was first published as the Cougar Insiders newsletter. Sign up to receive the newsletter in your inbox each Tuesday night.

It’s been decades since a BYU quarterback received this kind of pre-draft attention, like the early 1980s with Marc Wilson and Jim McMahon.

ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit dedicated a seven-part series on his visits with the top half-dozen quarterbacks and in a Q&A for the media, previewing his visits and impressions. I recount that press session in this column.

Doug Robinson took a swing at the long-developing attention Wilson has received during his career in this piece worth checking out, and I tried to recap some of the hype Wilson is receiving from some national pundits in my last newsletter.

This will be a QB-heavy draft. We explore how such classes have fared in the past in this research.

Cougar Insiders predictions

Here is the item of the week: Predict who will be drafted by the NFL from among BYU players.

Jay Drew: Past NFL drafts have not been good to the Cougars, as everyone who cheers for the school in Provo knows well. Will the 2021 draft break the trend? It could.

Obviously, quarterback Zach Wilson will go in the first round, almost assuredly at No. 2.

Offensive tackle Brady Christensen should go in rounds four or five, from what I’ve been told by people close to his situation. Receiver Dax Milne, who, like Wilson and Christensen, came out a year early, should go in rounds five, six or seven, from everything I know. It would be a shame if Milne isn’t drafted.

A couple other Cougars could be drafted: cornerback Chris Wilcox, defensive tackle Khyiris Tonga and offensive lineman Chandon Herring are possibilities. It should be an interesting weekend for the Cougars — for once.

Dick Harmon: The good news is this will be a story-worthy draft for the BYU program. It will draw tons of needed attention and help with recruiting because of it. 

The bad news is there will be some players who will not be drafted, like Micah Simon, who will end up keeping his chances alive as a free agent signee. I think Zach Wilson will go No. 2 to the New York Jets or will drop No. 3 to San Francisco. There is a tiny chance that he will go to Jacksonville No. 1, but I wouldn’t bet on it. Offensive lineman Brady Christensen will go in the third or fourth round and I predict Chris Wilcox will go. I believe Khyiris Tonga is borderline to be drafted but would be a nice pickup for a team if they do it. Dax Milne’s connection to Wilson, his artful route running and impressive film could get him picked. I’d say three for sure, maybe four.

Cougar tales

BYU’s women, seeded No. 16 in the NCAA volleyball championship, could not make a serious run against No. 1 seed Wisconsin last Saturday as the Badgers swept the Cougars in three games. You can read my match report here.

The women’s soccer team received a first-round bye in the NCAA tournament and have momentum going into postseason play. Here is a roundup of the NCAA invite by Jay Drew. 

There is a chance that many college teams will start allowing players to use their name and likeness to make money with myriad ways. I explore this issue with comments from athletic director Tom Holmoe. 

From the archives

From the Twitterverse

Extra points


Comments from Deseret News readers:

In an era of chest pounders it’s very refreshing to read about a humble man who worked hard and has let others talk about how good he really is (Brady Christensen) I think he’ll do just fine in the NFL.

— wallyball

Awesome Story! Late Bloomers appreciate things differently than the guys who were always big and cool.

Don’t let the NFL turn you into a loser. Money is only good if it flows and blesses lives. If you not it turns into a cesspool and ruins your own life. There are more important things going on.

— Red

Up next

April 21-24 | TBA | Track and field | Robinson Invitational | @Provo

April 21 | 6 p.m. | Softball | vs. Utah | @Provo

April 23 | 5 p.m. | Softball | vs. San Diego | @Provo

April 23 | 7 P.M. | Softball | vs. San Diego | @Provo

April 22 | 6 p.m. | Baseball | vs. Gonzaga | @Spokane, Washington

April 22-24 | Men’s volleyball | MPSF Tournament | @Provo

April 22-24 | Men-Women WCC tournament | @Henderson, Nevada

April 24 | 1p.m. | Softball | vs. San Diego | @Provo

April 23 | 6 p.m. | Baseball | vs. Gonzaga | @Spokane, Washington

April 23-24 | 8 a.m. | Men’s golf | Cougar Classic | @Provo

April 23 | 2 p.m. | Men’s tennis | vs. Pepperdine | @Malibu, California

April 24 | 6 p.m. | Baseball | vs. Gonzaga | @Spokane, Washington

April 26 | TBA | Women’s soccer | NCAA tournament

April 26 | 11 a.m. | Baseball | vs. Arizona State | @Provo